A recent article published in India’s Anandabazar newspaper reveals that New Delhi has conveyed a sturdy message to the United States that If the government led by Sheikh Hasina in Bangladesh is weak, it will not be suitable for either India or the US. Diplomatic insiders have revealed that New Delhi has communicated to the Biden administration through various meetings. These sources suggest that India has expressed dissatisfaction with the current extent of America’s involvement in the upcoming elections in Bangladesh to Washington.
Strategic Implications of Bangladesh Elections
In the report authored by Agni Ray, it is mentioned that New Delhi wants elections in Dhaka to be fair and unhindered, just like Washington. However, the various unilateral steps taken by the American administration to destabilize the Hasina government are not conducive to the overall security of neighboring countries, including India and South Asia.
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In three weeks, American President Joe Biden and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina are scheduled to share a platform in New Delhi during the G20 summit. However, before this event, the message from India carries substantial weight. The South Block believes that granting “political concessions” to Jamaat-e-Islami would pave the way for the rise of fundamentalism in Dhaka in the coming times. The current atmosphere of openness would cease to prevail.
US’s failed policy in Afghanistan and Jamaat-e-Islami Conundrum
Citing diplomatic sources, Anandabazar newspaper wrote that the security system of the entire region was turned upside down after President Biden decided to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan. India’s Northeast Frontier region is in a dangerous situation. The Taliban is now at the peak of power in Afghanistan. It is believed that the US made a closed-door deal with Afghanistan without considering its women, children, and minorities who are now suffering the consequences.
The Ministry of External Affairs in India holds the view that America’s approach to Kabul and its neighboring countries is causing growing unease for New Delhi, particularly concerning matters of national interest. Bangladesh shares the longest land border with India, and consequently, any unfavorable developments in Bangladesh have a direct impact on India as well.
As per reliable sources, New Delhi has conveyed to the Biden administration that providing favorable treatment to the Jamaat-e-Islami could lead to a rise in cross-border terrorism in India. This action could also significantly amplify China’s sway in Bangladesh, a situation not favored by Washington. While America tends to portray Jamaat as a politically oriented Islamic group and draws parallels with the Muslim Brotherhood, New Delhi remains unequivocal that Jamaat is, in truth, an extremist fundamentalist entity closely aligned with Pakistan.
Strong trepidation toward US Visa Policy
The Anandabazar newspaper also reported that the Biden administration has introduced a distinct visa policy exclusively for Bangladesh. However, sources indicate that New Delhi believes that this move is unnecessary. Under this new visa policy, individuals attempting to undermine the forthcoming elections in Bangladesh will be barred from entering the United States. This development has led to the perception within diplomatic circles that the American administration has directly intervened in Bangladesh’s internal political affairs by imposing its domestic laws and implementing a separate visa policy for the nation.
Awami League Delegation Visit to India
A delegation from Bangladesh’s Awami League, comprising five members, visited New Delhi and engaged in discussions with the top leadership of India’s BJP and various central government ministers. During these talks, the delegation conveyed a message highlighting the perceived dangers of the BNP-Jamaat alliance in terms of regional stability. The head of the delegation, Bangladesh’s Agriculture Minister Abdur Razzak, had a constructive meeting with India’s Foreign Minister S Jaishankar. Following the meeting, Minister Razzak stated, “We emphasized to India the significance of upholding regional stability for the mutual benefit of our two countries. The Hasina government is resolute in preventing Bangladeshi territory from being utilized for any activities that are detrimental to India’s interests.”
India’s diplomatic communication with the Biden administration has sparked discussions about potential consequences for Bangladesh’s upcoming elections. The Anandabazar article found that India thinks the weakened Sheikh Hasina administration is a threat to the national security interest of both Inda and the USA. The intricate dynamics of the region and the concerns expressed by India to the United States highlight the necessity for strategic and prudent diplomacy to ensure stability and tranquility in the South Asian region.